How I Studied for the NBCOT Exam.

It’s NBCOT Exam prep season! I cannot believe it has been a whole year since I started studying for my own exam. So in light of this stressful season, I thought I would share a few of the things I found helpful throughout the study process, in hopes that maybe they might help you too.

I can’t share specific details about the exam (including questions and exam format). But I can share how I broke down my notes, organized by time, and tried to remain calm throughout the process.

Before I say anything, I will say that my school enrolled our entire class in a two-day course designed and taught by TherapyEd. The course was held just before graduation and included a full review textbook as well as a manual that outlining study process step-by-step. I found the course incredibly helpful, mainly because I had no clue where to even begin with the study process.

1. Notes and Binders: I personally opted to follow the flow of the TherapyEd textbook and manual. So I decided to create a binder {which ended up turning into three binders} in which I could organize all of my hard copy notes in the same format as the TherapyEd textbook. I first created tabs for each TherapyEd chapter, and then appropriately filed my notes from school under each tab. When it came to topics that I had very little paperwork on, I created quick, handwritten outlines that were subsequently included in the binder. {I am certainly an organization FREAK and I get great joy out of making things neat and tidy. So this part was actually somewhat enjoyable for me}.

2. Flashcards: Throughout school, flashcards were my main form of studying. So I knew I had to use them when studying for the NBCOT Exam. From the notes I organized into the binders, I was able to determine what topics I needed to further break down into flashcards. I used both electronic flashcards (via Quizlet) and handwritten flashcards on standard index cards.

3. Diagrams and Drawings: I am NOT and artist, but I am definitely a visual and kinesthetic learner. So for the things that were harder to keep organized in my brain, I re-wrote my notes in simple drawings and diagrams. The creative process really helped to better organize my thoughts and give me a new perspective when studying the topics that didn’t seem to want to stick in my head.

4. Videos and Resources: Along with my TherapyEd text, I used a handful of other resources (including the PasstheOT program) and watched what felt like hundreds of YouTube videos (my favorites coming from OTMiri). Stay tuned because I’m working on another post to break down my more of my favorites, which should be up later this week.

5. Location: I studied mostly at home {mainly because I have to pace the floor while studying; gotta get that proprioceptive input!}. I did shift around to different rooms in the house throughout the 6 weeks I had to study, but overall I kept things pretty consistent which I believe benefited me in the long run.

6. Routine: I had about 7 weeks between graduation and my exam date. I took the first week off to celebrate with friends and take some time to relax, which left me with 6 solid weeks to study. Initially I scheduled about 5 hours per day, Monday-Friday. But in the end I actually only spent about 3.5 – 4 study hours a day. Since I was fortunate enough to be able to move back home with my family, I did not need to work while studying which left me with ample time to focus on everything OT.

Bottom Line: You know you best. Stick to the study habits that have worked for you all along. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. And most of all, remember that you know more than you think you do. Put in the work, and the results will come.

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